Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Watching   Oklahoma State  Vs. Oregon in Holiday Bowl.... This creates tension in my life....It is a great game.. (4th  qtr   31-28  Cowboys...but the ducks are driving )  Can Ducks drive? 

THE DUCKS DROVE.... BOYS LOST-= but a good game...

I vote for games to be played on fields where they have quality turf that has not been mauled by the NFL two days before....  Both teams have injuries because of the lousy grass.

Lots of bowl games to watch... Kind of fun....

On another super spiritual note..... Several of my fans gathered in the new gym today for the first shot .... It was a free throw.... The tight rims were a problem....but the ball bounced around and WENT IN !  The crowd erupted... and then we went back to work


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008 ( Catching up from a month long blogging break)

Its been a while since the last post... nearly a month.  Why?  Several have asked (my mom included).  Thank you to all who care. A few have wondered if I was sick. Nope.  Others have wondered if I was worn down and tired.  Maybe.  Others even wondered if I had given up on blogging... no.

I have been in a major effort with writing study guides for next year, articles, bulletin greetings and a some other things. So the first thing to go is blogging for a while.  Its really nothing more than that. 

So what's up? Well, here is my own personal Christmas  Letter for 2008. 

CHRISTMAS HAS BEEN  GREAT.  Our church tried something different this year.  The Christian group AVALON came to the church for two Christmas concerts. They were incredible.  What made it even more special was the participation of our own worship choir.  It was alot of fun, well attended, and a significant investment in our church family and community. 

On Sunday, we had our annual Christmas Services which were excellent.  I really felt like we worshipped Christ.  Our Worship teams were so engaged and full of joy. 

Our Christmas Eve Services were also very good. Interestingly we combined communion, candle-lighting, Charlie Brown Peanuts, Grandpa Tom reading the Christmas story to dozens and dozens of children, and the singing of Christmas Carols. 

These events were our first  Christmas events in our new building. Simply decorated, the building reflected the joy of our congregation as we celebrate the birth of Christ.  The preaching series concentrated on the three word phrase, " God with us."

What else is going on?  Well, Christmas continued today with our family here in Owasso.  Baby Grace is so beautiful.  Having James, Lydia, Elizabeth, Nathaniel, Abigail and Grace here was so good for Pam and me.   We did miss having Joel here ( He is in Portland).  But It sounds like was going to have a good day too. 

At the church, we are just a few days from opening our Phase II. It contains a great gymnasium, Kitchen, gathering area and a state of the art Youth and children's worship area. 

As I reflect on the opening, I am amazed that it is done. Just 9 months ago we were pushing hard to get into Phase I.  I am grateful to those who have worked so hard to get this phase done.  It will add so much to our ability to expand our ministry to youth and children, the development of sports ministries and give us much needed space for other activities in the church. 

When I consider 2008, it has been a year of tremendous challenge and change for our church. ( I will probably write more about this later).  But as we have come through the year and all of these changes, I notice that one thing has not changed.  Christ is the head of our Church. May it always stay that way!

2009 brings a new emphasis for our church. The theme for 2009 is "DEEPER".  For the coming year we will be looking specifically at foundations of our faith. The teaching and preaching will focus on the Bible and its trustworthiness, Jesus, God , Salvation and much more.  Some years we spend more time looking at what the Bible says about specific life situations. This year, it is much more about the foundations.  Along the way we will provide study guides for each message, which will include some more passages to study and read, group questions and Bible reading plans. I have the first 8 of the new year written, and am working on March.  Our hope is that people in the congregation will take these and make it their own personal responsibility to study the Word and apply it to their lives.   We have many many people who do, but we want to increase the numbers of people doing this on a regular basis. 

Some are asking about my health. Right now I am doing pretty well. I can tell when I have had along and intense season of preaching, leadership etc.  This fall has been pretty hectic. So in January , February and March, I will be doing a little less of the preaching and taking advantage of some vacation time, conference time and just some down time. 

Since I had the two strokes, I have gotten better at recognizing when I need to "dial it down." However, many years  of working too much and too long, with too much intensity has created unhealthy life patterns that I constantly have to fight against.  Sometimes I have to just shut it down... My body , mind and soul  tells me when that is... and that is definitely is now. So in the coming weeks, I will read alot  more, write more, preach a little less, and spend some time reflecting on God's work and call in my life. 

I am blessed beyond imagination. The church I serve has been so considerate in understanding my limitations and still encouraging me to press on, lead on, and serve on.  I know many who do not serve such a congregation.  On days I wake up and feel crummy, foggy and empty, I do not fear that someone will be on my doorstep, or at my desk wondering what I am doing or not doing.  Some of those days have become more numerous in last few weeks. When it happens, I retreat to rest and re-charge. And if I don't  then I have people around me who remind me of what I should be doing... and then tell me, "Get out of here." My family and our church want me around for the long haul.  In order to do this, you have to have a great staff. I have a great team that serves with me. 

At the top of the list is my wonderful wife.  This last week I was standing with one my friends at church, along with our wives.  I said, "We both have married way over our heads."  He agreed. 
So did our wives.  :-)   But we all know the score.  How could I even begin to say what the last 27 years, 9 months has meant to me?  These last 2 and 1/2 years have been a challenge for her, but she continues to work at the mid-high, be a great mom, be a "great"  grandmother, pastor's wife, and so much more. ( That is quite a job description isn't it.) She is awesome!

God is so good to me.  

 Well, that is my Christmas letter for 2008.  I would have sent it to you, except that "sending" stuff is not something I am really great at. So for those of you who read the blog...

 Merry Christmas!